The kick-off meeting of WASTE RREACT project, funded under the Interreg IPA II Cross-border Cooperation Programme, Greece-Albania 2014-2020, was held on October 4th, 2018 in Ioannina, Epirus
Launched in 2017, with a €3,87 million total budget and with a duration of 3 years, WASTE RREACT (Integrated waste management facilities for boosting recycling and composting in 7 Regions through cross-border activities) is a high significance strategic project introduced by the Region of Epirus, which is also the Lead Partner of the project scheme. It aims to boost recycling and composting through planning, construction and supply activities in 3 Regions of Greece, i.e. Region of Epirus, Region of Western Macedonia , Region of Ionian islands and 4 Regions of Albania, i.e. Region of Vlorë, Region of Gjirokastër, Region of Korçë and Region of Berat.
During the last decades, Greece has made significant efforts to tackle with major waste management issues and has worked towards EU policies for waste prevention, reuse and recycling, but is still behind national targets for year 2020. At the same time, Albania is striving to develop its basic infrastructures in order to avoid uncontrolled waste disposal. WASTE RREACT approaches low recycling rates in Greece and almost zero in Albania with the implementation of different facilities/activities in 7 Regions allowing direct comparison of the effects of each measure. These will be enhanced by a wide environmental awareness campaign addressing both citizens and schools, the production of technical guidelines/plans and the operation of an online waste monitoring platform for sharing information and strengthening cross-border co-operation.
The main outcomes to be delivered during the project include: a composting plant for source separated biowaste in Arta- Region of Epirus, a bring point for recyclables in Kastoria-Region of Western Macedonia and two smaller ones in Florina and Deskati-Region of Western Macedonia, one bring point in the island of Corfu and one in Zante-Region of Ionian Islands, a new separate collection scheme for recycling in schools and other key areas in the 4 Regions of Albania, a waste monitoring platform for educational and informational purposes as well as for monitoring waste management initiatives and the performance of municipalities, technical guidelines and specifications on waste management for municipalities and wide environmental awareness campaign targeted to different groups (schools, local businesses, citizens etc.).
A number of new and innovative schemes will take place, such as the composting plant of source- separated biowaste, green points which are a totally new concept for the participating countries, recycling at schools, etc. In addition, the monitoring platform is an innovative element, taking into account that there is no such monitoring mechanism in the participating countries. The proposed partnership and this cross-border co-operation can provide all sides with the necessary tools to make a step forward, exchange know-how and tackle common problems and challenges. Integrated waste management can be thus demonstrated through different case-studies for recycling, green points, composting, etc.
WASTE RREACT project is expected to significantly contribute to the achievement of overall strategy of the Interreg IPA CBC Programme “Greece – Albania 2014 – 2020”, that is to find the balance between sustainable regional development and enhancement of cross-border cooperation among local population and regional institutions, in accordance with EU and national policies, in order to address common challenges through joint interventions.